Most people don’t know these long winged birds are a cavity nesting species. They will nest in caves, abandoned houses, hollow logs, or dog houses placed out in wooded areas. We have found them nesting in the back corners of old barns, attics of old houses, piles of brush or logs and one time I found them nesting in someone’s deer stand when they left the shooting windows open. The young birds are a beautiful pure snowy white and I think they look like penguins before they grow wing feathers. They will stand up on their tippy toes, with wings spread when young and hiss at you to scare you into leaving them alone. NORMALLY you can locate the nests easier with your nose than you can by sight.
The adults travel vast distances on warm days as they travel from one thermal to another. We have two major coal fired power plant complexes in our county with each having three huge units that heat two different lakes of about 1,800 acres (750 hectares). On cold winter days there is always a flock of them circling higher and higher over these lakes before they dip their wings and rip off cross country. They can locate food simply by smell but they congregate by the hundreds when they see other vultures climbing a good strong thermal or those who have located a big food source. They eat until they are ready to burst when they have young in the nests. Just as they are about to take off they often jettison a large amount of white watery waste from their gut! Once back at the nests they regurgitate whatever meal they found directly into the mouths of their young.
Again these birds eat the most putrid of foods, you know stuff that smells just as awful as paperwhites:-))
In the central plains states of the USA we live at the edge of “Tornado Alley”. To me a good name for those birds riding a big thermal would be a “Vulnado”.
There are actually some really funny stories I have heard from people who thought it would be fun to chase a flock of vultures off of a highway road kill with their cars……only to get their cars “white washed”. This stuff RUINS a good set of black “leathers” that motorcycle folks wear:-))))
Who ever wins Brian’s name the vulture contest in the USA or Canada will get a bag of about 10 different n. Jonquilla select clones that I have accumulated over the past 25 years or so of collecting at old homesites. This is the first time in about 10 years I have dug up some of all (nearly all) of the best of the best or at least the most unusual stuff that might be good for hybridizing. (Remember I sometimes only select one clump out some of those pictures where there were millions:-)) I will be shipping out Clay Higgins jonquils Monday or Tuesday that I promised him for breeding before the deep freeze hit. Hope to have all the jonquils planted in the next couple of weeks. Brian is the official judge so try to impress him with your humor:-)) Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas